When Fall approaches, high school students prepare for traditions like Friday night football and homecoming dances.
But this year at Warhill High School, many students were denied the tradition of homecoming because of a cap on ticket sales for the event.
“You never really think you’re not going to be able to go, it’s a right of passage,” said parent, Lynn Mowry.
Mowry’s son, a senior at Warhill, was one of the many students who weren’t able to buy tickets for the dance this year after the school sold only 500 tickets to a student body of 1,390.
Part of the reason for the cap is the limited space in the schools commons area, where the dance is currently held, said Eileen Cox, WJCC spokeswoman.
Many parents argued the gym as an option for location, but the dance is held in the commons area for safety, spacial and security reasons, Cox said.
The school sold tickets during lunchtime on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday but on the first day of sales, there were only approximately 70 tickets sold, Cox said.
As the week continued, the school saw more and more students buying tickets which created long lines that some students, like Mowry’s son, missed multiple lunch hours waiting.
“Students were having to give up two of their lunch times sometimes just to stand in line,” she said. “It’s not like it’s a Beyonce concert, it’s homecoming. They’re a student and they should be able to go.”
The lack of tickets left students with homecoming dresses and suits bought in advance with nowhere to wear them and even caused some parents to ask for spare tickets on social media.
While some have argued that students should have bought tickets earlier, Mowry doesn’t think that’s really the solution.
“If everyone goes and buys tickets on Monday, they’re still going to run out. They’re selling to less than half the student body,” she said.
Parent Candace Berardi said buying on Monday wasn’t an option for every student.
During that week, many of the younger students had a shifted schedule because they were taking the PSAT test. There were other students, like her daughter who is a freshman this year, who are involved in extracurricular activities that make their already limited time even more stretched to get tickets.
“She was so excited to start high school and have as many experiences that she could,” Berardi said. “And now, so early in her time, she’s had a huge experience taken away from her and the school just seemed so complacent.
Both Berardi and Mowry said they tried to contact the principal, Jeff Carroll, or the school about the situation and either received “complacent” responses, or no response at all. This is Carroll’s first year at Warhill and Cox said that he wasn’t aware of any issues from last year but plans to address this for the next homecoming.
The dance was originally scheduled for Oct. 12 but had to be rescheduled for Nov. 10 because of Tropical Storm Michael. The school emailed families, stating that tickets from the event would be refunded to students who can no longer attend.
While this might give an opportunity for students who didn’t previously get a ticket, some parents are still concerned the heart of the issue remains.
“It’s upsetting seeing freshmen have this excitement squashed their first year from this experience,” Berardi said. “After seeing what’s happened, how’re they expected to have any pride or get excited now?”